In amongst the ongoing stress, fear and challenges of Covid, and especially the deep sense of loss, sadness and struggle which the second lockdown has brought, we have needed to turn our thoughts to Advent and Christmas and how we might celebrate them this year.
As public worship is allowed to resume in church from Wednesday 2nd December, we will be able to hold some of our services for Advent and Christmas in church. Others will be online. The information below sets out our revised offering of services.
On Saturday 5 December, a large tree will be put up outside St Mary’s which will be covered with lights. We’ll decorate the top half of the tree as that will be quite high to reach but we’d love people in Redbourn to come and place a bauble or decoration on the tree during December. It might be one of your own decorations, it might be one you’ve made specially or you might like to hang something festive on the tree with the name of a person or a message of hope. Come and make it a special Redbourn tree of hope.
Please do join us for any of the following services:
29th NOVEMBER 5.00 pm The Advent Carol Service (online)
Broadcast online on YouTube. Our choir presents lovely hymns and music, interspersed with readings and prayers A downloadable order of service will also be available from the website.
6th DECEMBER 5.00 pm The Christingle Service (online)
We’ve been wrestling with how we could hold our Christingle this year – could it go ahead? Could we offer it several times so we could socially distance and everybody could still fit in? Could we do it in the churchyard? In the end we decided that it was too tricky to do in person, so we’re going to offer an online service at 5.00 pm on Sunday 6th December.
Tune in and join us as we celebrate Christingle at our kitchen tables. In advance, you will need to get a few things together:
- an orange
- a little bit of foil
- a candle
- a bit or red tape or ribbon
- four cocktail sticks and
- some sweets and raisins
Join us for this short and lovely service for all ages as the Vicar does his best ‘Blue Peter’ impression – sticky backed plastic is optional – a sticky plaster for him may well be essential!
13th DECEMBER 5.00 pm The Lights of Love (churchyard)
Christmas can be a time when we’re all too aware of our bereavements and those we miss. We offer this short reflective service as a chance to remember in prayer those whom we love but see no longer, those we’ll miss at Christmas.
The whole service – lasting just 20 minutes or so – will be held outside in the Garden of Rest. Please go directly there and ensure that social distancing is observed at all time. At the end of the service we will light up our Lights of Love. These lights are sponsored in memory of loved ones whom we wish to remember at this time of year and envelopes, if you want to sponsor a light, can be found inside St Mary’s now.
20th DECEMBER 5.00 pm Nine Lessons & Carols (online)
In the lovely Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols we hear a sequence of bible readings read by different members of our community, interspersed with choir items and congregational carols for us all to sing – making this one of the quintessential services of the Christmas period and certainly one not to be missed.
This will be online only this year so that we can all have a good sing – sadly something we can’t do in church currently. So, join us online via www.stmarysredbourn.org or on the St Mary’s YouTube channel. You can even pour yourself a glass of something as we share in the service together!
24th DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS EVE
2.00 pm to 5.00 pm DRIVE-THROUGH NATIVITY (churchyard) Our crib services are so busy and the church is always so full that sadly we can’t do things in the same way this year, but out of adversity sometimes comes innovation.
We invite you to a drive-through nativity experience. Come to St Mary’s in your car, down Church End and in through the churchyard gates.
There you will experience the story of Christmas from the safety of your own car, stopping at various points as characters in costume tell the story of Jesus’s birth and who was there, all lasting just a few minutes.
Pause to wonder at the amazing stable scene finale before making your way out of the gates on Hemel Hempstead Road. Please do observe this one-way system for this event – the churchyard will be closed to all other vehicles. We look forward to welcoming you and your household.
24th DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS EVE (in church)
11.30 pm The First Eucharist of Christmas This service, often known as Midnight Mass, is an absolute gem and is really the first of the main Christmas services. We gather at 11.30 pm to celebrate the Christmas story of God coming among us in the birth of Jesus. This is a communion service with the blessing of our special crib. Social distancing will be in place and face coverings will need to be worn for all attending (unless exempt) – please follow the guidance of the stewards who will there to assist those attending. Whether you come to St Mary’s regularly or not – you can be assured of a very warm welcome – for you and your family and friends.
25th DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS DAY (in church)
8.00 am Holy Communion We offer three services on Christmas morning, the first being the traditional Communion services using The Book of Common Prayer.
10.00 am All Age Eucharist Our main service on Christmas morning is a Eucharist, where God’s people, young and old, gather together to celebrate the joy of Christmas with communion and a short sermon to suit all ages. Face coverings must be worn for those attending either of these services.
Our revised capacity is limited to ensure social distancing. If large numbers come, with regret, we may have to turn some away. We can minimize this possibility by encouraging you to attend the Midnight Mass or the 8 am service which are likely to be less busy.
25th DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS DAY (online)
10.00 am All Age Service As well as the services in church we will also be broadcasting a special Christmas service online via www.stmarysredbourn.org and St Mary’s YouTube channel.
So, whether your are shielding, away for Christmas, you live further away or you just want to ‘go to church’ in your PJs, you can still join us for this special service as we celebrate the joy of Christmas together in worship, carols and prayers.
I have heard a few people say that Christmas is cancelled this year. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It might look a bit different this year, some things might not be possible, but many things can happen.
This year, perhaps more than any other, we are so aware of the darkness of our world and the suffering that many have experienced. At the heart of Christmas is the good news that God comes among us as Jesus – the Light of the World – and overcomes that darkness with light, and hope and love.
I hope that despite the challenges, you all have a very Happy and Blessed Christmas.